I’ve been told that I try to do everything now, that I need to slow down, and to hold off things until I’m older. But what I’ve always thought was…

‘What if I don’t get any older?

People try to save money all their life, intending to use it when they’re retired, then they find they’re not as nimble as they once were and can’t visit places they’ve been waiting to go to all their life.

Then there are the ‘off-putters’. The ones who say that now isn’t quite the right time for them. They may be waiting on a raise at work, or trying to raise a family. Either way they feel that whilst they’re doing one of those things, they can’t do much else. These people will never find the right time.

I was one of those people, and it was while I was walking around The Forum in Rome that I realised my mother was already at a point in her life where some traverses may be too difficult for her. As I scaled hills and hopped over relics in the sweltering heat, I could imagine my mother asking for a coffee break whilst trying to find a nice shady tree. She’s been retired for nine years, and in that time has taken every opportunity to travel. Most destinations aren’t too laborious, but she now has her sights set on Machu Picchu, a tricky place to:

a) Get to

b) Breathe at

I’m a firm believer that you can do anything if you set your mind to it. I’m also a firm believer of thinking outside of the box, and when people tell me you can’t just go off travelling the world after spending so many years forging a career path, I say yes you can! It’s difficult, and it certainly takes guts, but if it builds you more as a person, then it’s worthwhile.


The Ever Evolving Pack List

The Pack List

Getting your pack list prepared well in advance of setting off is probably one of the best things you can do right from the off. I made my decision to leave the country back in January, and since February I’ve been updating a pack list and purchasing items from the list as I go.

So far I’ve come up with the below. I’m yet to decide on clothing, so that will come into it closer to the date.

  • Clothes and Shoes
  • First Aid & Prescriptions – Make sure you stock up on any prescriptions you may need before leaving as the county you’re going to might not have the same kind of cost/service as your own. Australia’s healthcare is notoriously expensive so I’m hoarding whatever I can before I go.
  • eReader & books – I’ve got hundreds of ebooks already stored on my eReader, and currently plan to take one or two paperbacks with me for the beach
  • Phone
  • Chargers – Mostly usb cables to fit into my plug charger
  • Netbook
  • Passport, vaccination book, I.D.
  • Insurance and Visa Documents
  • Travel Pillow – I looked into the best one to choose and decided that a 2 in 1 would be good, with a loop to attach it to my bag. In the end I went with this one – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007REVRGI
  • Ziploc bags – Great for keeping belongings dry and away from creepy spiders!
  • Microfibre Towel – Light and dries quickly. I chose this two pack so my boyfriend had one – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00OXS67M0
  • Number padlock – I chose this one for a colour to stand out from the crowd, and ALWAYS chose a number one ‘cause it’s no good have a key padlock then losing the key for it… http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B003KIUKMC
  • Ipod – My phone doesn’t have enough space for music (it’s kinda old!), so I decided to buy a 2nd hand ipod nano. That way I have music on the go, but can also change it every so often with my external hard drive of music and my netbook. I went for a 7th generation nano from ebay. I found that if it’s an auction finishing midweek you’re more likely to get a slight price reduction to the auctions finishing on the weekend. I managed to get mine for £65.
  • Make up & Remover
  • Nail Clippers
  • Hairbrush
  • Adapters – 2 should be suffice
  • Toothbrush & Paste
  • Shaver
  • Travel Guides – I’ve read through the guides already so might just write up notes from these/take pictures, and leave them behind.
  • Notebook & Pen – Always good to have a pen handy, but I might leave the notebook.
  • Moisturiser
  • Camera & SD Card
  • Travel Money – Just to start me off. I should have a bank card soon after getting there.
  • Sewing Kit – Something many people have said would be useful to have but I might just leave.

What’s missing? I’ll be revising the list again at the end of May.

A Further Purge – Furniture and the fish

Moving out of our home which my boyfriend and I had created for ourselves over the past two years, was difficult emotionally, but physically I didn’t want us to be pulling about items that we’d never need in a future home. So out went the unwanted cutlery, and off went the excess sheets and towels to our nearest clothing bank.

As for furniture, we went around the house and made a list of all the items we’d happily give away. There are loads of places online; Gumtree, or freecycle, where you can post a listing of all your unwanted items and give an end date for when you’d like it gone by. Another way, and the only one we needed to use in the end, was sending an email out at work. You’ll often find that a lot of people like junk! Within minutes of the email going out we’d already managed to get rid of the bookcases, speaker set, and even an old electronic drum kit. Our other option was good old Facebook, where I posted the status ‘Fish and their tank free to a good home!’ and we managed to get a friend of a friend of a FRIEND to come round and collect them one evening after work.

Finally, we were done. My life was purged. But it will start all over again in the last week before I set off for Oz!

Packing up your life!

Most people will take a good six months or so to thoroughly go through their belongings and sort their old life out before beginning a new one. I however, struggle to live that way with a boyfriend who’s constantly working abroad on really short notice.

Because of this, when I thought I’d have months to sort through my stuff in our flat, it soon got cut down to a few weeks. Luckily I’d already begun making lists and piles of things to sell off, and this is where I help you make the most out of your unnecessary belongings.


Right now, in the early stages of taking the big step, maybe still just contemplation, you’re probably thinking that all your belongings are necessary. For many years I’ve carted ‘my life’ from one home to another, thinking that every single item was needed. I have since learnt that most is unnecessary.

In these modern times we have a lot of gadgets, and one thing those gadgets are good for is consolidating media. Look around you; do you have stacks of CDs, DVDs and console games? I did, and I knew that I could copy them to a portable external hard drive, and then make money from them. Games of course don’t work the same way, but who needs a games console when you’re snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef?!

This is the part that takes some effort, and I can see people stalling at this block, but persevere. In selling these belongings, I’ve paid for my travel insurance!

Listed below are the companies I used to sell my DVDs, CDs, books, and Games:

Music Magpie – Takes almost anything, but doesn’t offer much money. Standard DVD offers will be 30p, CDs at around 15p, and you need a minimum total of £5. They give you the option of freepost or Collect Plus.

Zapper – This and We Buy can surprise you every now and then with a good offer on a random CD or obscure DVD so they’re good to compare against Magpie. Average CD offer = 25p. Minimum total of 10 items. Thankfully they let you send via Collect Plus.

We Buy Books – Going against their name, this company actually accepts CDs, DVDs and books. They offer ok amounts on some books – depending on their worth of course, but I did find a few well priced beauties in the DVD and CD area. Minimum total of £15. Free Postage.

Fat Brain – Accept books only. A good place to sell your old textbooks, and depending on the day you could get offered over £5 for an item! I got scuppered by waiting too long selling my Jay-Z Decoded book. One week they offered me over £6, the next, just £4. Minimum total of £15. Collect Plus

Momox – This site’s pretty good for offers, but it doesn’t have an app. Where the above companies give you an option of online input or using their apps with inbuilt scanner this is site only, meaning you will spend a long time typing in ISBNs. Once again, if you persevere, you will get good offers! Momox offered me above average amounts across most items but it’s average CD offer will be around 12p. Minimum of 10 items, total of £10. Free postage

Games Xchange – Apparently they also take in DVDs, but I could only ever get the ISBNs to work on my games. Yes, this is another site only company, but these guys offer big bucks on games – old and new. Games Xchange want your ‘vintage’ games, and compared with CEX who often only want 20p for my old items, these guys would give me £1.35 for Abe’s Exoddus. A Playstation One game I’ve had since the ‘90s. Minimum of 4 items worth £10.

Postage and packaging

When it came to packaging these items up I used some old shoe boxes for the smaller sales, and bought the cheapest archive boxes I could find (mine came from Rymans), and cut the height of them down so that the items couldn’t move around. Lots of tape is key! To ensure you definitely get your money from these companies, it’s best that you make sure there’s little that could go wrong in the whole process. So I taped up the boxes from every angle, creating a nightmare situation for those poor people at the other end unboxing, but ensuring that these boxes reached their final destination in the same state as packaged.

Other Items

You may not realise how many items you have in your cupboard until you really go through it and see what you’ll need in your new destination. Knowing that Australia would be my first destination, I knew that I would no longer need warm clothing. I also didn’t need so many smart items or expensive dresses that I could make some money from. I was brutal. I pulled all my clothes out and made three piles – Current/Necessary, Rubbish, Sell-able.

Rubbish goes straight out, either as material for crafties, or the local clothes bank. I kept the ‘current’ pile for work but knew that closer to the time I’d once again be whittling these down for travel only. The sell-able items pile was then washed. I took a well-lit photo of each item from a few angles – close up on any designer logos and labels to prove it was real, and then made the decision if it was worth an ebay auction or gumtree.

There are other websites like ebay that will offer to sell your clothes for you such as Vestiaire Collective, but after looking through their sale details they actually keep a large percentage of the sale cost, and you might not even sell the item before you plan to leave!

Ebay is pretty good these days at finding a similar posting to your item and then automating the listing leaving you to write your description and upload photos. Do check all other details, as they might have different postage options than what you want and listing durations.

I learnt through my ebay listings, that the best time to set off your auction was mid-afternoon on a Sunday, and leave it to run for 7 days. Bidders have a tendency to pop on and off ebay during the week, maybe searching one weekday evening and then end up ‘watching’ and item until nearer the time. It’s at the weekend that they find the time to surf the web whilst relaxing at home and are ready for the bidding war mid-afternoon on the Sunday. Giving the posting the longest time possible opens up the opportunity for bidders to place small bids during the week, thus upping the total amount by the time the auction comes to an end.

From doing this I managed to make approx. £200. I even managed to sell this Karl Lagerfeld Limited Edition Coke bottle from 2011 for £5.40 – ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’!


Gumtree is very good for items that you have no real time limit on. The posting is free, and mostly people ask for collection only. I tried to sell some boots on gumtree and received one enquiry within a few hours, but after a few days the listing became so far down the list that I needed to cancel the old one and create a new posting for free.

After getting through all these belongings, I was onto my last few things…